L'obelisco dislocato: errore o premeditazione?
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: 73-74, 2021
The dislocated obelisk: mistake or premeditation?
The contribution is the ideal completion – only for the bizarre position of the obelisk – of the important study with which Massimo Birindelli demonstrated the complex geometry of St. Peter’s Square and the Scala regia in the Sistine urban planning context. Several hypotheses had been put forward to justify that misalignment (including the slight rotation between the modern basilica and the early Christian one) but the most accredited remained that of an error committed by Fontana in placing the Egyptian artifact.
Instead, it has been possible to demonstrate that it was forced by unavoidable orographic and urbanistic situations for those who (at the end of the 16th century) were already planning axial access to the basilica, in place of the “Spina”; an authentic interpretation of the common feeling of the time is provided by Maderno who in 1608 (while completing the facade) placed the fountain in Piazza Scossacavalli exactly on the axis. The axis of Viale Angelico (mid-16th century) was also deformed as a result of the trasportatione.